The Inside Scoop on How Insurance Companies Will Fight Your Personal Injury Claim
Insurance companies do not want you to seek legal advice or hire a personal injury lawyer. If so, you could find out the scoop on how insurance companies fight personal injury claims.
Insurance companies fight claims to save money. They aren’t interested in paying fair settlements for personal injury cases. Instead, they want to pay as little money as possible to resolve your injury claim.
Continue reading to learn how insurance companies fight personal injury cases to avoid paying a fair settlement for damages.
Shifting the Blame to You
The insurance company may try to blame you for contributing to the cause of your injury. Accident victims who are partially to blame for the cause of an accident are not entitled to full compensation for damages.
Florida’s modified comparative fault statute states that the court enters judgment against each liable party based on their percentage of fault. However, being partially to blame for an accident does not automatically bar recovery of damages. But it does reduce the compensation you receive.
Suppose a jury finds you were 40% to blame for the cause of a motorcycle crash. The court would reduce the award for damages by 40%. However, you also cannot recover any compensation at all if you were 51% or more to blame under Florida law.
Insurance companies understand this law. They use it to their advantage to lower the amount they must pay for a valid injury claim. Therefore, an insurance company may try to shift the blame to you even though you did not contribute to the cause of your injury.
Offering a Fast Settlement
Insurance adjusters often make a quick settlement offer to reduce the amount the insurance company must pay for a claim. If the adjuster can convince a person to accept a settlement offer before seeking legal advice or realizing the extent of their damages, the company can undervalue the claim.
Before accepting a settlement offer, complete your treatment plan and ask your doctor if you sustained any permanent impairments. If you settle before you complete medical care, you cannot be sure whether you might be entitled to additional compensation.
Once you sign a settlement agreement, you give up your right to file a lawsuit or seek additional compensation. Even if you realize you have additional injuries or damages, you released the insurance company and all other parties from further liability for your claim.
Using Your Statements Against You
Never agree to a recorded conversation or provide a written statement to an insurance company. Claims adjusters try to get you to say things that could hurt your case. If your statements are in writing or recorded, they can use your statements to undervalue or deny your accident claim.
The best way to protect yourself from this insurance tactic is to allow an Ocala personal injury lawyer to handle all communications with the insurance company and other parties.
Blaming a Pre-Existing Condition for Your Injuries
You have the burden of proving that the car accident, slip and fall, or other incident caused your injuries. Suppose the insurance company discovers you have a pre-existing condition or had a previous accident. In that case, it may try to blame your current injuries on the old injuries or pre-existing condition.
However, even if you had prior injuries or a health condition, you could still recover money for accident injuries. When a pre-existing condition worsens because of an accident, you can recover compensation for damages you would not have incurred had it not been for the accident. This theory is referred to as the eggshell skull rule.
Downplaying Your Injuries and Damages
Many people do not know the types of damages they can receive for a personal injury claim. In addition, they may not know that the severity of their injuries can directly impact the value of their damages. Therefore, insurance companies use this to their advantage.
The insurance company will not tell you that you should demand more money for your claim. It might not explain that in addition to economic damages, you could recover non-economic damages for your pain and suffering, diminished quality of life, and permanent impairments.
Whenever possible, the insurance company downplays your injuries. For example, it might tell you that your medical records do not support your claim of severe injuries. The claims adjuster might tell you that if you are not willing to accept the settlement offer, the company will demand an independent medical examination to determine the extent of your injuries.
If you are unsure what damages you are entitled to receive or how much your case is worth, it is best to consult with an injury lawyer before accepting a settlement offer.
Alleging You Failed to Mitigate Damages
Prompt medical treatment after an accident or personal injury improves your chance of making a full recovery. In addition to protecting your health, seeking immediate medical care also protects your right to compensation for damages.
Delays in medical care could result in allegations of failure to mitigate damages. Accident victims have a duty to take reasonable steps to reduce the damages caused by an accident or injury. Seeking medical treatment and following your doctor’s treatment plan are ways to mitigate damages.
The insurance company might argue that your delay in medical treatment caused your injuries to worsen. Therefore, it should not be responsible for damages that could have been avoided had you sought prompt medical treatment. The result could be a lower settlement or jury verdict for your personal injury claim.
How Can You Protect Your Right to a Fair Settlement for an Accident Claim?
You cannot control the conduct of an insurance company. However, you can take steps to protect yourself.
Ways that you can fight back against insurance companies who try to cheat you out of the money you deserve include:
- Seek immediate medical treatment after an injury or accident
- Never admit fault for the cause of an accident, including saying you are sorry for the accident
- Do not talk with insurance adjusters without legal advice
- Never sign a medical release form, settlement agreement, or other documents without having a lawyer review the documents
- Document your injuries and damages by keeping careful records and copies of all documents related to the accident and your injuries
Hiring a personal injury lawyer can be one of the best ways to fight bad faith insurance practices and unfair tactics. Your attorney will handle all aspects of your case and fight to recover maximum compensation for all damages caused by negligence, intentional acts, or other wrongdoing by another party.
An Ocala Personal Injury Lawyer Will Fight an Insurance Company That Undervalues or Denies Your Personal Injury Claim
Insurance companies have unlimited resources to fight your personal injury claim. Put the resources of an experienced personal injury law firm on your side. Schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced Ocala personal injury attorney to discuss your claim and protect your legal rights to compensation.